Poverty rate still high among US children, report says

by Dennis Thompson, Healthday Reporter
Poverty rate still high among U.S. children: report
Almost one-quarter live in low-income homes, which experts say affects their health and education.

(HealthDay)—Poverty rates remain high among children in the United States and continue to affect their health, education and safety, a new federal report shows.

"Nearly a quarter of in the United States are living in poverty. That's unacceptably high," said Dr. Thomas McInerny, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "We know that children who live in poverty have poorer nutritional status and poorer health status. They are not well set up to enter kindergarten, they are behind in their learning skills and so forth."

Unfortunately, the shows that more children than ever are living in poverty: Twenty-two percent of those younger than 18 were living in low-income circumstances in 2011, up from 16 percent a decade earlier.

The poverty rate is particularly high among , the report found. By 2050, about half of the American population under the age of 17 will be composed of children who are Hispanic, Asian or of two or more races, the report authors added.

"Right now, 49.9 percent of all kids under 5 are any group other than non-Hispanic white alone," said Ben Bolender, a demographer for the U.S. Census Bureau. "The proportion has been increasing, and we would expect to cross the 50 percent mark in the next few years for that age range. It really highlights our changing diversity in the country."

The report found that many troubling issues linked to childhood poverty have either remained static or increased over the past few years:

  • The percentage of children living in housing that is either inadequate or too expensive for household budgets rose slightly, from 45 percent in 2009 to 46 percent in 2011.
  • Kindergarten reading and are lower for children in households with incomes either below the federal poverty level or at 100 to 199 percent of the .
  • About 64 percent of children lived in a two-parent household in 2012, down from 77 percent in 1980.
  • The quality of children's diets remains inadequate, reaching on average only half the dietary guidelines recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • About 22 percent of all children live in homes that are food-insecure, up from 17 percent in 2007.

Poverty has a direct effect on a child's nutrition, said Kristi King, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a dietitian at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.

"If the families don't have the money or the access to purchase the types of foods they need, that could play a large part in children's poor intake," King explained. "As Americans, we need to look after our own and we need to make sure every child gets the food they need so they can grow up to be healthy individuals ready to take over in 20 years."

These trends have prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics to adopt childhood poverty as one of its major agenda items in the coming years, McInerny said.

He noted that the United Kingdom has been able to slash its rate of childhood poverty in half over the past 10 years through measures like increasing the minimum wage, targeting tax credits to low-income families and providing high-quality child care with minimal or no expense to parents.

"It's time we start doing the same sorts of things to try and reduce childhood poverty," McInerny said.

McInerny said the report contained one bright spot—the teenage pregnancy rate continues to decline in the United States.

The birth rate among teen girls aged 15 to 17 has declined from 32 per 1,000 in 1994 to 17 per 1,000 in 2010, the report said. Births among teens aged 18 and 19 also have declined.

"That's critically important, because we know children of parents who are teenagers have poorer socioeconomic status, and all the problems that come with that," McInerny said.

The report was compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, which includes participants from 22 federal agencies, as well as partners in several private research organizations.

More information: To read the full report, visit the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Safety net programs kept families from poverty, report finds

Jun 20, 2013

(Phys.org) —Is the social safety net still working in Wisconsin? In a word, yes (but not quite as well as it worked in 2010). Tax-related provisions and near-cash benefits provided a buffer against poverty for many working ...

What the birth rate says about changing family dynamics

May 10, 2013

(Phys.org) —An Iowa State University sociologist is not surprised by a recent U.S. Census Bureau report showing a spike in the number of unmarried women giving birth. According to the report, nearly 36 percent of babies ...

Recommended for you

US sues Gerber over claims on infant formula

22 minutes ago

US government regulators announced Thursday they were suing Gerber, the well-known baby food maker, for claiming that its Good Start Gentle formula can prevent or reduce allergies in children.

Blending faith and science to combat obesity

4 hours ago

Science and religion may seem like uneasy partners at times, but when it comes to promoting healthy lifestyles, one UConn Health researcher has shown they can be an effective combination.

Research project puts stroke patients back on their feet

4 hours ago

Finding the will to exercise routinely can be challenging enough for most people, but a stroke presents even more obstacles. Yet aerobic exercise may be crucial for recovery and reducing the risk of another ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

BobKob
not rated yet Jul 12, 2013
kids dont earn income?
freethinking
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 12, 2013
I was told Obama was going to make thing better for children. Oh well, He promised Hope and change.

Now most Americans Hope he doesn't screw up more, and all they have is change in their pockets.

If you voted for Obama the first time because he was black, you are a racist.
If you voted for Obama the second time, you are an idiot racists.

JohnGee
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 12, 2013
Guidelines for posting comments on Phys.org articles:
Stay on topic
Be civil
Keep science
Avoid political and religious discussions

Comments that will be deleted include:
spam;
abusive, snarky, obscene, or just plain nasty remarks about anything or anyone;
off topic ramblings, rants, or pointless verbiage;
political and religious discussions;

Those are just the ones you broke.
zaxxon451
5 / 5 (2) Jul 13, 2013
"If you voted for Obama the first time because he was black, you are a racist.
If you voted for Obama the second time, you are an idiot racists."

You must think we live in a democracy. We have a one-party state. Our government is owned by the rich. And greed is non-partisan.
freethinking
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 13, 2013
JohnGee, I'm on topic. Obama said he would help decrease poverty ---- on topic of Poverty-
He failed to deliver on his promises --- true statement affecting poverty, so again on topic-
Hoping he doesn't screw things up more thereby increasing Poverty ---on topic--

No obscenity in my comments unlike many of yours, so unless you count truth as obscenity, which Progressives like you do, --on obscenities...

I may give you that I made a sarky comment, but you have never been sarky have you? I'm sure you are going to be making similar posts to all your Progressive friends like Otto, VD, howhot, etc... right? If not you are a hypocrite...
freethinking
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 13, 2013
JohnGee, one thing I really cant stand is hypocrites. . If anyone wants to know how to see others comments PM me and I'll show you how. Now, I'll let others judge you by your standards, the following are JohGee words...

If you aren't a troll I have a wall I'd like you to stand in front of.
You are a pathetic coward and a homophobic homosexual.
Like most reactionary crybaby conservatives
Crawl back in your hole, troglodyte. You are also clearly a latent homosexual
you are a disgusting, racist, homophobic coward. Probably homosexual too
Freethinking's gym class scenario speaks volumes about his latent homosexuality.
A bit of advice: if you are going to be such a smarmy prick
Or am I right to assume he has half his arm up your ass? I won't speculate on whether you enjoy it or not?
VENDItardE
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 14, 2013
Guidelines for posting comments on Phys.org articles:
Stay on topic
Be civil
Keep science
Avoid political and religious discussions

Comments that will be deleted include:
spam;
abusive, snarky, obscene, or just plain nasty remarks about anything or anyone;
off topic ramblings, rants, or pointless verbiage;
political and religious discussions;

Those are just the ones you broke.


you are a moron as well as having a pointless existence....stop pm'ing you f*kn troll
Neinsense99
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 15, 2013
Guidelines for posting comments on Phys.org articles:
Stay on topic
Be civil
Keep science
Avoid political and religious discussions

Comments that will be deleted include:
spam;
abusive, snarky, obscene, or just plain nasty remarks about anything or anyone;
off topic ramblings, rants, or pointless verbiage;
political and religious discussions;

Those are just the ones you broke.


you are a moron as well as having a pointless existence....stop pm'ing you f*kn troll

Well, they've let you post with a user name that insults another user, so the rules don't seem to mean much.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.